State education official meets with diversity advocates, students at GCC

Grove City College hosted Dr. Wil Del Pilar, Pennsylvania’s deputy secretary of Education in the Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education, recently for a meeting with the Greater Pittsburgh Higher Education Diversity Consortium.

Del Pilar talked about the state’s postsecondary and higher education plans with members of the consortium, which is dedicated to guiding and facilitating transformative change to promote diversity, equity and inclusion at the region’s colleges and universities.

The group had a solid discussion with the deputy secretary about their goals and Pennsylvania’s postsecondary and higher education plan, which Del Pilar said is focused on “access, affordability and completion.” 

Dr. Lorie A. Johnson-Osho, professor of education and director of Multicultural Recruiting and Retention at Grove City College, is a member of the 13-school consortium and arranged its meeting at the College.

While on campus, Del Pilar also met with students majoring in education, faculty and Josh Weaver, assistant superintendent of Grove City Area School District. 

He shared statistics about the current and projected teacher shortage areas in Pennsylvania and engaged the students in a wide ranging dialog about teacher certification, quality, evaluation, student assessment and how federal initiatives such as the Every Student Succeeds Act may impact current trends in PreK-12 educational settings.

“Far more than merely sharing his own expertise, the deputy secretary sought feedback from the Grove City education students to gather their unique perspective regarding upcoming initiatives and trends in emerging policy areas,” Dr. Constance N. Nichols, chair of the Education Department, said. “He was so incredibly engaging and encouraging to our students.”

The Greater Pittsburgh Higher Education Diversity Consortium was formed in October 2014 by a group of higher education professionals and executives in Southwestern Pennsylvania with an intentional focus on diversity, inclusion, and multicultural affairs to develop a more robust approach to the critical issues impacting diversity and inclusion in the realm of higher education. The consortium is focused on sharing best practices, resources, and promoting activities that cultivate professional development, leadership development, student success and the promotion of civility, equality and access for all constituents. 

Other consortium members are: Community College of Allegheny County, Carnegie Mellon University, Carlow University, Chatham University, Duquesne UniversityPoint Park University, University of Pittsburgh, LaRoche College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Seton Hill University, Pittsburgh Council of Higher Education and Vibrant Pittsburgh.

State education official meets with diversity advocates, students at GCC

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